England's Danny Willett has targeted a place in Europe’s Ryder Cup team for September’s showdown with the United States at Hazeltine after winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic by a single stroke from compatriot Andy Sullivan.
Overnight leader Willett held his nerve to hole a 15-foot putt on the 18th and card a final-round 69 to finish 19 under par, one shot ahead of Sullivan and playing partner Rafael Cabrera-Bello of Spain.
A fourth European Tour title moved Willett to a provisional career-high of 12th in the world rankings, elevating the 28-year-old to third in the Ryder Cup standings, while cementing his place alongside Justin Rose in qualifying for the British Olympic team.
“You try not to think about it when you’re on the golf course but they are two massive goals of mine,” said Willett.
“I’ll do the same thing I’ve been doing the last couple of years, it’s just day by day, week by week, and hopefully come August we’ll be in Rio and come September we’ll be in Hazeltine.”
Defending champion and world No2 Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, hit eight birdies in a round of 65 to tie for sixth with Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, four shots off the lead.
“It’s sort of a week of what could have been,” said Northern Ireland’s McIlroy. “There was a lot of really good golf in there. I played a lot of great shots and made a lot of birdies, but just made a few too many mistakes as well.”